Maria Sakkari US Open 2021

Maria Sakkari makes history for Greece

Maria Sakkari advanced in Moscow in underwhelming fashion as she was handed victory, but with the win she achieves something historic.

The Greek faced Anna Kalinskaya in the round of 16 at the Kremlin Cup. With Sakkari up a set and 1-0, Kaliskaya had to retire with a thigh injury, handing the third seed a walkover.

Following the victory, Sakkari will add at least 100 ranking points from her campaign at the Russian event. Those points push her over the qualification threshold for the WTA Finals by just six points.

By clinching the fifth qualification spot for the event in Guadalajara, Mexico, Sakkari becomes the first Greek woman to compete at the elite tournament.

In 2019, Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first Greek period to qualify for a tour finals. He even won the event, defeating Dominic Thiem in the final.

This year, Sakkari has had a breakthrough season, becoming the first Greek woman to ever crack the WTA top-10.

Though she has not won a title this year, the world number seven is one of just two women to reach two Slam semi-finals this year, the other being world number two Aryna Sabalenka.

Sakkari reached the semi-finals of Roland Garros and the US Open this season. On both occasions she lost to the eventual champion.

The 26-year-old will next play home talent Veronika Kudermetova or eighth seed and 2013 champion Simona Halep in Moscow.